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Update on Governor Lamont's Budget Proposal

Partnership for Strong Communities
 

 

Governor Lamont’s Budget Proposal Preserves and Expands Critical Homeless Programs – Pauses New Affordable Housing Bond Authorizations

 

February 20, 2019

 

The Governor’s proposed 2019-2020 budget preserves and expands critical programs that prevent and end homelessness.

 

“Governor Lamont’s budget released today provides critical resources for those who need a safe, secure, affordable home despite the tremendous budget constraints faced by the state. The budget preserves and expands essential programs for statewide efforts to end homelessness. The Governor has demonstrated that he, like our legislative colleagues, understands and supports the importance of ending homelessness in both fiscal and human terms improving the overall economic growth of the state.” said Kiley Gosselin, Executive Director of Partnership for Strong Communities.

The Governor’s biennial budget totals $21.2 billion for FY 20 and $21.9 billion for FY 21. The budget seeks to close a projected deficit of $1.5 billion in FY 20 and $2.2 billion in FY 21. It includes expenditure reductions of $270 million in FY20 and $480 million in FY 21. The capital budget provides $944 million in new authorizations FY20 and $977 million in FY 21; a reduction of over 40% compared to recent years. There are no new bond authorizations for the Department of Housing’s Affordable Housing Flex Fund or the Housing Trust Fund, with the Governor calling for the spend-down of the existing authorizations. Currently, there remains $71 million in the Housing Trust Fund, $147 million in Flex funding, and 12.1 million in the Homelessness Prevention and Response Fund. The budget continues to support vital services and supports for individuals experiencing or facing homelessness, and expands supportive housing through the proposal of a new Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit.

Budget Proposals Include:

 

Department of Housing

 

• Funding for the Housing/Homeless Services at $79.4 million in FY 20 and $84.8 million in FY 21. The increase is largely for implementing a Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit for High Cost High Need Individuals and Rental Assistance Vouchers for DSS’ long term care rebalancing strategy.

• A Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit for High Cost, High Need Individuals FY 20 $459,200 and $2,258,300 for FY 21. Under this proposal, a 1915(i) state plan home and community-based services benefit will be developed that will serve up to 850 individuals who experience homelessness. Transition and tenancy-sustaining supports have been found to be effective at achieving housing stability as well as improved health, community integration and life satisfaction.

• Rental Assistance vouchers to support the Department of Social Services' Long-Term Care Rebalancing Strategy at $239,120 for FY 20 and $1,324,680 for FY 21. Provides funding to support housing vouchers for individuals who will transition out of institutional care. The funding is provided to achieve savings and support the Department of Social Services' rebalancing strategy.

• A reallocation of the Community Investment Account Funding to the General Fund and an appropriation in the amount of $2,480,415 for FY 20 and $2,480,415 for FY 21 to a new line item called Homeless Supports providing General Fund support for Coordinated Access Networks, the 2-1-1 Info line, cold weather protocol and grants.

• Preservation of the Homeless Youth Program funding at $2.3 million each year of the biennium.

• No new bond authorizations for the Housing Trust Fund, or the Affordable Housing (FLEX) Fund.

Department of Development Services

 

• Annualized Housing Supports Funding at $1,050,000 million in FY 21. This reflects full year support costs for 70 new supportive housing units expected to come on line in late FY 2020. These units will serve individuals with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder and provide wraparound services including in-home supports, case management and rental assistance.
 

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

 

• Housing Supports/Services maintained at $23 million for each year.
 
• Young Adults Services reduced by approximately $2 million and $4 million; respectively.
 

Department of Social Services

 

• A Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit for high cost high need individuals. In 2016, Connecticut was one of eight states selected through a competitive process to participate in the Medicaid-Housing Partnership Innovation Accelerator Program. Through this initiative, technical assistance was provided to help states design ways to support individuals served by Medicaid in accessing and retaining stable housing and meaningfully engaging with their health goals.
Under this proposal, a 1915(i) state plan home and community-based services benefit will be developed that will serve up to 850 individuals who experience homelessness and whose average Medicaid costs exceed $40,000 per year. Funding is also included in the Department of Housing to support this effort. The proposal estimates reductions in Medicaid expenditures of $2.7 million in FY 20 and $13.9 million in FY 21
 
• Strengthening of rebalancing efforts under Money Follows the Person with $1,046,400 in FY 20 and $3,513,600 in FY 21. The Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration is a federal initiative that encourages states to transition individuals out of institutional settings and into community settings with appropriate supports. The new efforts associated with the funding are expected to result in an additional 800 transitions per year, when fully annualized in FY 2021. Funding is also included in the Department of Housing to support this effort.
 
• Resources to assist in the development of an Opioid plan. $500,000 for FY 20 and $250,000 for FY21 is included for consultant services to assist state agencies in examining various methodologies, including a section 1115 demonstration project, to develop and implement a plan to address gaps in the state's treatment of substance use disorder.
 

Department of Corrections

 

• Funds to expand the Medication Assisted Treatment program at $2,054,000 for FY 20 and $5,995,600 for FY 21. DOC to phase-in Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for all inmates with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). FY 2021 funding levels reflects full implementation to treat offenders with OUD at an estimated cost of $100 per week for 52 weeks.
 
• Provides for state issued identification for inmates upon discharge; $229,950 each year.
 

Office of Early Childhood

 

• Care4Kids increases of $4.9 million in FY 20 and $9.8 million in FY 21 for modest rate increases for child care providers. The Care4Kids program is otherwise held harmless.
 

Department of Transportation

 

• Funding to issue 60-Day bus passes to offenders discharged at the end of sentence or from a halfway house at $92,520 for each fiscal year.
 

Department of Economic and Community Development

 

• Brownfield Remediation and Revitalization Program at $10 million in new bonding authorization in each year of the biennium.
 

Office of Policy and Management

 

• Urban Act funding at $50 million in each year of the biennium.
 
While the documents released today provide the overall framework for the Governor’s proposed biennial budget, PSC awaits further details in the Governor’s legislative proposals that will accompany the budget and will become available over the next few days. We will continue to keep you informed.
 
 

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